Monday, October 31, 2005

Narnia Controversy

I've long thought that the idea of reading The Chronicles of Narnia in chronological order is plain silly. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first, and needs to be read first. Prequels, like The Magician's Nephew, demand a knowledge of the "quels" they're "pre-" to. As I've been reading the series with my kids over the last few months (we step into The Last Battle today), I've become even more convinced that Lewis told them in the right order when he wrote them, not when he talked about it later.

John Miller over at National Review Online makes the case wonderfully. Mostly by quoting the two books vying for first read. He's right, it's Wardrobe all the way.

Lewis put the matter more succinctly in a letter toward the end of his life: "An author doesn't necessarily understand the meaning of his own story better than anyone else."

Lewis of course understood the meaning of Narnia. But a wise expert is not the same thing as a final authority — and on the question of which Narnia book should come first, Lewis was utterly wrong.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Triumph of the Lamb

The United Reformed Church in Boise held their annual conference this weekend. Dennis Johnson, prof at WTS-Escondido and author of Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation, was this year's speaker.

attendance was typically small--which I find odd for a decent sized church that invites a few others. I counted people from at least 3 congregations there, and there were 28 of us Saturday morning. Still, it was worth it.

Friday night, however, was the first time I stopped moving in a few days. I'm guessing I was conscious for about 1/4 - 1/3 of it. In a crowd that small, am sure that he was very aware of it. ugh.

The lectures Saturday were pretty good, fairly interesting...even if I didn't agree with some of the interpretation. He gave the most fair and accurate description of the postmill position I've ever heard from an amiller.

All in all, well worth the time. Next year, they're planning on Robert Godfrey speaking. I'll drink a couple of gallons of coffee that afternoon so I don't have a repeat of this one ;)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Smallville episode 5.5 "Thirst"

Worst. Episode. Ever.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Of the making of lists there is no end

Ye Olde Crusty Curmudgeon has linked to Time Magazine's list of 100 Best English Language Novels written during the magazine's existence. Like Ransom, I've read 14 of the 100, tho' I think his list commends him more highly for taste and overall piety than mine.

Animal Farm - George Orwell Really enjoyed this book, haven't re-read it as often as I'd imagined I would. The essay I had to write on it in 10th Grade was the first time I can remember working a joke into something I wrote. All downhill from there. :)
The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler My favorite Chandler book, can't remember how many times I've read it. Some absolutely classic lines...a novel that defined a genre.
The Day of the Locust - Nathanael West I don't understand why this novel and West aren't talked about or taught more. At the same time, I don't remember many novels that featured more depraved and bleaker characters. Which probably answers my question.
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck I hated this book, truly. 'Tho the 3rd time I read it, I appreciated Steinbeck's work more, I really, really, really hated it. I will force my kids to read it, because it's one of those things you have to have read. But, I won't blame them for begrudging the experience.
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald When I first read this book, I held it in about the same esteem as the previous entry, but it grew on me. Don't know that I can say I'd pick it up again, but I wouldn't mind--and would probably enjoy--doing so.
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis Goes without saying that I agree with this one.
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov Bring on the hate mail: I love this book. I love Nabokov's use of language, the way he makes you sympathize with this scumbag of a narrator and then with a word or two makes you recoil in horror that you've done so. One of the all time best opening lines, IMHO. Absolutely lyrical.
Lord of the Flies - William Golding You can't fine a better depiction of total depravity by any extra-canonical writer. Sadly, that's the best I can say for the book
The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien Again, genre defining. Must read.
Neuromancer - William Gibson This book, this author, rocked my world. Always a joy to read. Ransom's probably right, Snow Crash is better. But you couldn't have gotten SC without this.
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson I personally enjoyed Stephenson's The Diamond Age more, and think it shows a more mature author. But you can't beat the pacing, the style, the language.
The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner You could sentence me to a lifetime of Faulkner reading, and I wouldn't complain too much. I would probably have selected other titles by him for the list, but can't knock this one.
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee When I compile my list of best/favorite novels this one competes with the next on the list for the top spot, and usually ends up winning. I tried to get my daughter named Scout once upon a time. Come to think of it, I think I lobbied for Harper, too. Anyway, Great book. Must, must, must read. And then re-read.
White Noise - Don DeLillo ummm, hello. Look at the top of the page! Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.
The English Major in me reacts somewhat defensively to my poor showing on the list: I have started a handful of the others, and for one reason or another didn't finish. Have read other works by authors that made the list. A few (not that many) are on my "must read before death" list--I even own some of those. But on the whole, Time would consider me an Philistine. But that's okay, I've been a Newsweek reader for almost 2 decades now anyway, so they'd think me suspect from the get-go :)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Belated birthday

You may have noticed that I've begun occasionally noting significant birthdays. Yesterday was one of the more important ones (to me, anyway). On Oct 23 in Chillicothe, Ohio, Archie Goodwin entered this world--no doubt with a smile for the pretty nurses--and the face of American literature was destined to change.

I drank a glass of milk in his honor.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

New Narnia Trailer!

This is a must see. Downloaded the QuickTime file a couple times, but couldn't get it to work. But was able to watch it a few times--actually, all six of us crowded around my monitor to watch it twice. Dec. 9th is too far away!!!

Oh, yeah, and a new Goblet of Fire trailer and scene are up, too. Fans need to check out the scene. Really looking forward to this one, too. Just not as much.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Good point

Over at Reformation 21's blog, this week they're talking about signs of a healthy church. One post that came out of left field for me, but rang so true, was Carl Trueman pointing to a sense of humor as a sign of a healthy church.

Humour speaks of perspective, and of realizing how insignificant are our own endeavors for the kingdom, of how ridiculous we -- and everyone else -- appears in the context of God's great design. The individual, congregation, or movement which has lost the ability to be self-deprecating about itself and humorous about life in general has lost perspective.
He adds a well-aimed and much needed shot at joke telling in the pulpit, so he's not suggesting that churches become yuck-fests.

But he's right, a sense of humor does speak of perspective and does become the man/church of God. But you gotta hit it right, while trying to avoid being drier than dust we've got to be careful we don't go too far (for some reason I can't help but think of Moscow, ID when I say that)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I really should know better

Just re-read the two pieces from the Oct 17th Newsweek on Mormonism (hey, thought we weren't supposed to call them that anymore!): The Mormon Odyssey and 'Solid, Strong, True'.

Ugh. Utter puff-pieces. Their look at the new Odd Couple revival in the same issue pulls fewer punches.

They come close to actually making the story interesting, and showing a little skepticism regarding Smith's claims (note they only use one version of the First Vision) in one paragraph. One.

Because of Mormonism's unique theology, some of which challenges early Christian creeds, many Christian denominations don't consider the LDS Church to be Christian. "There is no rightful claim by historic Mormon doctrine to the name Christian, because they deny almost every one of the major fundamental doctrines of Christendom," says Norman Geisler, founder of the Southern Evangelical Seminary. But for Latter-day Saints, who believe in the Jesus Christ of both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, the cold shoulder from other denominations is baffling. "I am devastated when people say I am not a Christian, particularly when generally that means I am not a fourth-century Christian," says Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
"Fourth-century Christian." Oy. Someone's been reading Dan Brown. (yeah, yeah, oversimplification, I know)

You never see Newsweek exercise this much "blind faith" in the source documents, theologians when discussing the Resurrection, the Virgin Birth, etc.--as they will do in a month or so just in time for that one holiday (you know, the one with all the family movies). Disgusting.


Joe's not going anywhere. I can't say that means as much this year as it would've a couple years ago, but I can't imagine anyone else running that team. Given what he had to work with this year, he did do a great job. Ultimately it was the guys on the field who failed.

(hey! I said the drop in sports posts is on the horizon--not here yet)

Last Weekend

a quick follow-up to a previous entry.

I went to Colville, WA again, exhorted from Philippians 1 (am) & 2 (pm). And once again, it was a encouraging and edifying (and relaxing!) experience for my wife and myself. It was a new and demanding thing for me to do two services, but I felt a greater liberty and better command of the material than I'm used to. Not exactly sure why, but I'm sure not complaining. There's a lot I could rave about...the scenery, the oodles of deer everywhere you turned, or the hospitality. But the thing that I found most significant was the singing in the congregation. Some good voices, some decent, some neither. But they were serious about it, they sang out in joy, in faith, in praise. There was no doubt that these people took that aspect of the service seriously, and used it as an opportunity to glorify the Lord. Not to stumble and mumble through the song just as a way to get to the next item on the bulletin.

I'm firmly convinced that what we do in worship and how we do it says a lot about the God we worship. And yeah, I know you can't put the emphasis on the external, it's the heart hat matters, blah, blah, blah. Whatever. At the end of the day when your belief has to impact how you live. And we're called to sing praises. Therefore we need to sing praises. Not mark time. And you don't do that by running off to the latest and greatest Marantha! tune or Calvary Chapel ditty. You do that by using the words and music in front of you as a channel for your heart. Great singing is an indication of great love of a great God. I'll let you fill in the blanks for yourself what mediocre singing indicates.

Anyway, I found that aspect both a challenge and an inspiration to keep making a joyful noise to the Lord (and, am I ever so glad it's a joyful noise, not a beautiful sound I'm supposed to make!)

Should also note along these lines, I'm set for pulpit supply again. This time in the URC church here in Nampa on Oct. 30. Should be very interesting. Colville is at least OPC, I know the pastor, had a pretty good idea what the church and service would "feel" like. The URC is a foreign body really, in a way, tho' it'll be a shorter drive than the one to my home church, I'm probably going to feel further away than I did in Washington. Still, looking forward to it. Probably going to dust off something I've already done, rework it a bit, and see if I get better with practice :) (I'm honestly not holding out much hope for that)

World Series is a comin'

...which means a drastic drop in sports-related posts is on the horizon (and 75% of my 10 readers cheer).

How about those Sox? That pitching was a sight to behold! Those four guys in the picture (and their coach) deserve every accolade and $$ they can get from this (if you grant that throwing a tiny little ball at a man with a stick is worth millions of dollars). My only regret is not being able to see El Duque during the ALCS, other than a few shots of him in the bullpen before he was sat down...watching him work the end of the last Division Series game against Boston was wonderful. Hats off to Ozzie for letting those pitchers shine.

As much as I hate to say it, I'm glad the Yankees fell to the Angels. Watching Buehrle, Garcia, Garland and Contreras chip away at the bombers would've been too disheartening.

Now, I know very little about the National League. Maybe if I let myself spend more time on baseball (already spend too much) I'd get to know it better. But I've really appreciated what I've caught of the NLCS. I'm pulling for the 'stros--would love to see Pettitte get another shot on the big stage. Tonight's game was a great one--tough playing throughout. Good stuff, and then watching that crowd go crazy after the homer put them up You could almost imagine Roy Hobbs taking a practice swing or two.

And then Pujols. Wow. That's a series crushing blow. Or at least it can be. Sure, the Astros still lead this sucker 3-2. But if they're not careful, that one pitch, plus that one hit, can be the end of them. Anyone remember game 4 of the 2004 ALCS? That killed the Yankees. For their sakes, I hope the Astros can rebound in St. Louis.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

At this moment

I'm NOT taking my mid-term for Hermeneutics. Why is this noteworthy? Because the rest of the class is taking it RIGHT NOW. Actually started about a half-an-hour ago.

I've yet to receive the exam, and the prof is off in New Zealand. No body at the seminary knows where the exam is, but they told me they'd look and send it to me if they found it. I checked with my mentor thinking, maybe they'd sent it to him. Nope.

I blew off Greek quizzes, lost sleep, grouched at my kids, for this thing. And they don't even have the decency to get it to me!

"Be angry and do not sin," I believe Paul said. Working really hard on the "not sinning" part right now, but got the former covered really well.

oh well, at least it gave me something to blog about.

UPDATE: About 8 minutes before the test was supposed to end, it showed up in my inbox. 11 minutes after that, I noticed it. Very unimpressed.

Monday, October 10, 2005

ALDS Game 5


Friday, October 07, 2005

One More Thought

As much as I was against the trade for the Big Unit. I'm very glad he'll be on the mound tonight.


Awfully quiet this week

1. Very brain dead after working my posterior off (really, it's not there any more) for my Greek Mid-Term (and here).

2. On Monday, instead of the one sermon I'd been mulling over, I was asked to do two. Never wrote two in a week before. Still haven't, come to think of it--but I'm close.

Add those to together and you end up with very little time to hopefully entertain you here. More next week maybe, and the week after is Fall Break. So I'll either sleep for 7 days straight or post a novel here :)

Great Moments in Science

This man deserves something for just having the idea--not sure what he deserves, but something.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Yeah, cuz I need more stress in my life

Okay, Yanks down by two in the bottom of the 8th with Leiter pitching (?!?!?!), gets to ya a bit. Even with yesterday's win.

But there's always something to make you feel better.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Don't Worry, Folks. It's only temporary

Had a couple of minutes to spare this morning, and needed to do something totally irresponsible and meaningless. So we have the "Postseason Template" that we'll hopefully be able to keep up for the whole month of October.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Quote of the Day

"Now, the example of Christ is living legislation--law embodied and pictured in a perfect humanity. Not only does it exhibit every virtue, but it also enjoins it. In showing what is, it enacts what ought to be. When it tells us how to live, it commands us so to live." John Eadie

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I was wrong...proud to admit it

Yankees clinched the title...sweet.